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Clara  James

Bike Lanes and Parking on First Avenue: Confused?

By April 5, 2010

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It's been six months since First Avenue and Hennepin Avenue in downtown Minneapolis were converted from one-way to two-way streets, and new bike lanes were added on First Avenue.

The bike lanes on First Avenue are between a parking lane and the curb, sending bikes down the middle of pedestrians and a row of parked cars. That's in non-rush hours. During rush hour, and Friday and Saturday night, the parking lane is a regular traffic lane and bikes will continue to ride in the same lane next to the curb. Here's how it looks, if you haven't been by lately.

The new parking and bike lane arrangement hasn't proved intuitive for many cyclists and drivers in downtown Minneapolis, and the City of Minneapolis has issued plenty of parking tickets for cars who haven't worked out the new arrangement and parked in the bike lane.

Cyclists might like the protection from moving traffic, but dislike the extra potential to have a car door opened in front of them. Drivers are confused about when and where it's OK to park. And neither drivers nor cyclists like people walking in front of bikes to feed the meters.

Local businesses have been complaining about their customers' cars being towed and the possibility of loosing business from people put off using First Avenue.

And that's not all First Avenue has to contend with. There's more major changes now that extra traffic, car and bike, will be using the First Avenue on the way to nearby Target Field for Minnesota Twins ballgames.

So how can the City of Minneapolis manage car, bike, and pedestrian traffic as efficiently and as safely as possible? While the new arrangement on First Avenue doesn't have many fans, Minneapolis is home to one of the nation's most enthusiastic cycling populations and needs bike lanes in downtown, especially in the arts and entertainment Warehouse District.

What do you think? Should First Avenue cyclists and drivers just get used to the new bike lanes? Should the bike lanes be taken out and the parking restored? Or is there a better way for cars and bikes to use the street?


November 5, 2010 at 12:07 pm
(1) Paul Schimek says:

Better get rid of this unsafe design before someone gets killed!

Oops, too late:

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